Women: Learn to Program this Summer

As an investor, I've found that one of the reasons there are fewer female startup founders than male ones is that there are fewer female programmers. So this summer I'm trying an experiment to see if I can help change that.

I'm going to give 40 women $9000 stipends to cover their living expenses while they take Lambda School's programming course. Lambda School has created a 15-week program designed to fit during the summer break and have generously agreed to cover these 40 students' $12,000 tuition. We’re calling it the “Summer Hackers Program.”

Lambda School is an extremely intense online programming class. It's a serious commitment, but if you make this commitment, you will know how to program by the end of the course, even if you start with zero previous experience.

And though my ultimate goal is to increase the number of female startup founders, this offer is not limited to women who plan to start startups. It's open to any woman in the US who wants to learn how to program.

To enable undergraduates to participate, the course is designed to fit within most colleges' summer breaks. It will run from May 28 to September 3.

The application deadline is April 1, and you can apply here.

Learn more about Lambda School here.


I'm in college and my fall semester starts before September 3. Is there any flexibility with this end date? 

Yes, a little. Go ahead and apply and mention it to Lambda School. 

Will women who take the course owe future income to Lambda School?

No. Lambda School's normal business model is to make their classes free and instead charge a percentage of the income its students make as programmers. Alternatively students can pay tuition. But for the Summer Hackers Program, Lambda School has generously agreed to charge neither tuition nor a percentage of future income.

Can I take the entire Lambda course? 

Yes. While you won't have the stipend, Lambda School will also cover the tuition of any of the participants interested in continuing with the CS and Labs portions of its curriculum—an additional 15 weeks full-time or 30 weeks part-time.

Why is this limited to women in the US?

Since neither I nor Lambda School have tried this before, I wanted to reduce the number of variables.  If it works this summer, we may expand it next summer.

Will students be able to use Lambda's career placements services?

In order for Lambda School to recommend you, participants will have to complete the CS and Labs portions of Lambda School. Tuition for those units will also be free for women who want to continue.

Do I need to move to the Bay Area? Does anyone help me find housing?

No to both. The Summer Hackers Program is an on-line, remote course.

We use inclusive definitions of “women” and “female” and welcome trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people who are female-identified.